IC105-Ethics in Investment Management

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lisa Schopohl

Email: l.schopohl@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Ethics in Investment Management offers a series of lectures that explore the main ethical conflicts encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. It will examine the causes and consequences of both ethical and unethical behaviour, giving students the chance to see how individuals’ decisions affect trading partners, clients and the market as a whole. Some of the topics covered in this module feature in the CFA ethics syllabus, but this module should not be seen as an alternative to the specialist training for the CFA exams.


To introduce students to the ethical difficulties encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the course students will appreciate the ethical standards imposed by professional bodies and financial regulators. They will be able to identify the ethical dimension involved in the decision-making process, and be able to discuss the conflicts between economic efficiency and ethical behaviour.

Additional outcomes:

Students will gain experience in handling case studies and in debating with their peers. They will also gain significant exposure to the CFA’s Standards of Practice Handbook which contains the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

Outline content:

Lectures include:

  • Introduction to ethics

  • Ethical theories

  • Ethical decision making, investment recommendations and the finance professional

  • Duties to employers, codes of ethics and the case of whistleblowing

  • Fiduciary duties and the investment chain

  • Socially responsible investment

  • Market integrity and market abuse

  • Remuneration and risk-taking in banking

  • Behavioural ethics


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures will be used to introduce and illustrate the theory and concepts discussed in the course. Seminars will allow the students to discuss specific cases, which further illustrate the ethical problems faced in financial markets. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Guided independent study 172
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One 2 hour exam

The exam covers the topics of the lectures and student will have to answer two out of four questions. The questions are open-ended questions.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The written assignment is an essay of approximately 2500 words to be submitted during Week 29.

The essay is based on the material covered in the lecture and will shed light on an aspect of ethical conduct in the investment management industry. In the essay, students shall demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and high level of understanding of the subject matter as well as independent research of relevant literature.


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. 

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A minimum mark of 35% is required for a University pass.

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-sit examination to be taken in August/September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 17 August 2018


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